Bonn, 30th April 2007 - An Afghan member of Welthungerhilfe's (German Agro Action) staff was shot dead near the town of Kunduz early on Sunday evening.
The member of staff was driving one of two HGV trucks returning from a building site. It seems that the two vehicles came under sudden fire on their way back. The truck at the front of the two vehicle convoy was able to continue its journey and escape.
The second vehicle, however, was forced to come to a standstill. The driver was coerced into descending and, according to initial sources, he was shot five times. The truck was subsequently set on fire and burnt to a shell. The corpse of the murdered employee was found lying in front of the truck. Two other members of staff who were in the truck at the time have since gone missing.
Welthungerhilfe has no further information on the circumstances around the attack or its perpetrators. Afghan police were called into action immediately and were accompanied by the army and a Provincial Reconstruction Team of the German army in securing the scene of the crime. According to police sources, a first arrest has already been made.
"We know too little at the moment to evaluate the situation properly," states Hans-Joachim Preuss, Welthungerhilfe's Secretary General. "We are deeply distressed about this shocking act of violence." Before decisions can be made about the continuation of Welthungerhilfe's work on the ground, the authorities will have to find out more about the course of events.
Welthungerhilfe has taken immediate action by suspending all of its project work in the province of Kunduz. The organisation's Security Officer is on his way to Kabul to offer his support to colleagues on the ground and supervise the next steps.
Deutsche Welthungerhilfe has been working in Afghanistan continuously since 1980. Initially, the organisation provided for Afghan refugees on the border to Pakistan, but in 1992 a skeleton agreement was reached with the Afghan government. Since 1980, Welthungerhilfe has spent 75 million euros on the implementation of approximately 100 projects. The main focal points of project work are in the north and east with an emphasis on rural infrastructural development such as drinking water supplies, irrigation projects, food security as well as the environment and erosion control. In addition, Welthungerhilfe carries out projects in village development as well as the generation of alternative sources of income for opium farmers.
For further information see www.welthungerhilfe.de
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